Milton Erickson Style Hypnotherapy Scripts

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Milton Erickson Style Hypnotherapy Scripts

Milton Erickson was famous for using ambiguous langauge patterns to support his clients, utilising what the client brought to the session to create fast therapy and be innovative within his sessions. His formula was so successful that the co-founders of NLP Richard Bandler and John Grinder modelled what Erickson did creating the “Milton Model”


The “Milton Model” is a mix of hypnotic language patterns, which once learnt can be used to help you the therapist create effective Erickson style hypnotherapy scripts.


Common Milton Model Language Patterns


The ambiguity pattern is a key pattern for inducing trance, Milton use to use ambiguity to confuse his patients concious mind beofre using the following patterns to create change.

Ambiguities  – words and phrases with more than one meaning.

There are 4 types of ambiguities we will look at:

Phonological – words that sound alike  

  • Write and right
  • Knows and nose
  • Hear and here
  • Red and read
  • Weight and wait
  • A part and apart
  • Flower and flour
  • Piece and peace
  • Sea and see
  • No and know
  • Bye and by and buy
  • Bee and be

Example Phonological

“Yes to day, you thought about going into trance didn’t you, are you ready to go into trance today?” (Yesterday)

“You’re unconscious now understands how to make changes” (Your unconscious)

“If you were carrying a bag of rocks in the dark, how could you make your journey lighter? ” (here the word LIGHTER is spelt the same but has two meanings)

Punctuation – sentences that share the same overlapping word

Words that overlap:

  • Watch
  • Tie
  • Feel
  • Through
  • Change
  • Break
  • Coast
  • Move
  • Believe
  • Crave
  • Decide
  • Experience
  • Drape
  • Frame
  • Places
  • Realise
  • Respect
  • Feedback
  • Think
  • Bank
  • Cast
  • Hand
  • Point
  • Drift
  • Round

Example Punctuation

“That is a good POINT to the place that is causing you pain”

“I just brought a new WATCH what I am doing”

“Notice what your HAND me the glass”

“I love going to the SEA what pictures you get, when I say relax” (phonological is also used here)

Syntactic – sentences that can be taken in two or more different ways

“They are visiting relatives”

“Man eating fish”

“We saw her duck”

“The girl in the car that needed water is waiting”

“I own a flying jacket”

Ambiguous Scope – it is unclear if the sentence is an adjective, verb or adverb

“Speaking to you as a child”

“Why don’t you come over when you having nothing on”

“The older man and women came to the party”

“The girl chased the boy without shoes”

“He made the computer characters fast”

Tag Question;

A question added at the end of a statement or question, designed to soften resistance and gain agreement, this works really well, don’t you agree?  It has the structure of a question, while keeping the tone of a statement. Tag questions are easy to use, don’t you think?

  • “I can see you want to improve, don’t you?”
  • “I know you want to give me a pay rise, don’t you?”
  • “Your perception of this company is changing, isn’t it?”

Yes Sets (Pacing)

this is a well know technique, say several statements or ask several question that have to be answered with a “yes” (this does not have to be out loud)

An easy way to do this is to Pace Current Experience: “as you’re sat here (yes) reading this article (yes I am) ready to learn more about persuasion techniques (yes)

At the end of the Yes Set add a command and they will automatically say yes

“You will want to (command)”

“As you are all here, on a Friday morning, at this training session….you will want to take an active part in all the activities”

Embedded Commands:

This is a command that forms part of a larger sentence using a subtle change in voice tonality or body language and is picked up by the listener’s unconscious mind.

  • “My colleague said you want me to take charge”
  • “You can imagine me achieving these targets”
  • “You can learn this technique easily”

Cause & Effect:

Implies one thing (or cause) leads to another; use these follow linking words in your sentences:

  • If then
  • As you
  • Then you
  • Because
  • Then

Humans have to find a cause for every effect as we always search for things to make sense; you can use this human programme to your advantage by offering a plausible explanation to your “cause”

“You have to stay late because we need to meet the targets/deadlines”

“Once you attend the training session, then you will understand the importance of customer service”

Use “but” to delete what you have just previously said “I know you said no to my proposal butyou have been able to imagine  the profit margin we will be able to achieve” the person your speaking with will focus on the last part of the sentence

Complex Equivalence:

Attributes meaning to something that may or may not have a ’cause’ capability, like the example above it satisfies the need for looking for or finding a cause

  • “Being at this meeting means that you will listen intently to what I am about to say”
  • “By taking time out for this meeting means you want to help me solve my query”

Mind Read;

Pretend to know someone’s thoughts

“I know you want to X (– meet your targets)” your employee will ask themselves “how do they know that?” and will accept the rest of the sentence

“I know you’re thinking about how you can achieve your targets this month, because you’re concentrating hard”


Takes advantage of everything in the person’s experience (internal and external) to support your intention, as you did with Cause and Effect.

Person says: “I don’t understand.”

Response: “That’s right, you don’t understand, yet, because you have not read the whole report, once you read the report you will know this makes sense”

Person: “I don’t think I can do it”

Response: “That’s right you don’t think you can do it now, but once you start the project you will realise how easy it is”


The linguistic equivalent of assumptions.

  • “Will you be changing your attitude now or later today?” It is assumed the person will change their attitude, the only unknown is when
  • “You can do this even easier” Client is forced to have an internal representation of the outcome

Double Bind:

Offer No-Choices when creating the illusion of choice

  • “Do you want to begin this task now or later?”
  • “Do you want to speak to me about yesterday’s problem before or after you log-on?”
  • “Take all the time you need to finish in the next 30 minutes”

Modal Operator:

Words that refer to possibility or necessity or that reflect internal states of intensity tied to our rules in life.

  • “You should help others”
  • “You must resolve this issue”
  • “You can complete this deadline”

They will accept that the statement is possible (without being able to choose), creating a “yes” set


Words which allow people to add their own understanding to them. The person does not need to put effort in to doing it – it just ‘is’ already

  • “People can come to new understandings”
  • “You can take satisfaction in your knowledge”

Unspecified Verb:

The verb is not specified the listener needs to add their own details to make sense of the communication

  • “You could just let go and notice” – Notice what?
  • “I’m finishing the report” – By When?

Lack of Referential Index:

An expression without specific reference

  • “People can change” – who can change?
  • “It has to be completed soon”

Comparative Deletion (Unspecified Comparison):

A comparison is made without specific reference to what it is being compared to, forcing the person to think “compared to what?”

  • “You will enjoy it more.” – more then what?
  • “This one is better”

Conversational Postulate:

Are questions that operate at multiple levels, it sounds like a question but is really a demand/command.

  • “Can you read that report?”
  • “Can you answer the phone?”

Extended Quote:

A quotation that has commands added to it;

“I remember my first position as an apprentice working in a large organisation, I was given some advice from my managing director, after a company meeting he said “anyone can become an MD or whatever you want to be, you just have want it and work hard to get it”

The quotation confuses the internal dialogue and external comments and can be used to deliver things we don’t feel happy to say directly and can also be used to add embedded commands.

Selectional Restriction Violation:

Attributing intelligence or feelings to inanimate objects, often used in hypnosis sessions, the person senses the absurdity but allows the presuppositions to seep through

  • “Your work file tells an interesting story”
  • “Your chair can support you as you make these changes.”


is unexpected and does not ‘follow the rules’, in a simple form it is two ideas connected by a word. Which ultimately forces the listener to enter their own experiences to make sense of what is being said

“I like your watch my hand closely”

Lost Performative;

expressing value judgments without identifying who is doing the judging.

“it is important to read all of this document” Who says it is important?

Universal Quantifier:

Generalizations without referential index.

  • Everyone
  • No one
  • All
  • Every

“Nobody is perfect”

“Everyone can give this a go”

“Every day brings something new”

Amazing New NLP Language Patterns

As You

  • Pattern “A as you B”

“You may be aware of the sound of birds outside the window, as you go deeper into trance”

Negative Command

  • Pattern “don’t X”

“don’t think of a blue elephant” – you have to think about the thing I don’t want you to think about.


  • Pattern  “Imagine X”

“Imagine relaxation spreading through your body” Imagine is a command word

Can you Feel

  • Pattern “Can you feel A”

“Can you feel yourself relaxing?” – to answer the question, you first have to access the feeling

Have you ever noticed

  • Pattern “Have you ever noticed A”

“Have you ever noticed a tingling sensation somewhere in your body?”


  • Pattern “Maybe X”

“Maybe you know how to relax?”  You’re not telling them to relax, your just saying maybe you know

People Can

  • Pattern “People can X”

“People can take a deep breath and just relax”

You May Not Know

  • Pattern “You may not know A”

“You may not know how relaxed you feel” to answer, you will have to check how relaxed you feel

Try Not To

  • Pattern “Try Not To X”

“Try not to feel confident, just yet”

Your Conscious Mind, Your Unconscious Mind

  • Pattern “You Conscious Mind X, while Your Unconscious Mind Y”

“Your conscious mind might have learnt something, while your unconscious mind just listened or your conscious mind might have just listened while your unconscious mind learnt something”

Milton Model Script Formula

Formula One

  • Universal qualifier + cause and effect + Tag Line

“Everyone can relax when sitting down (universal qualifier), because taking the weight of your feet, helps you to relax (cause and effect) doesn’t it (tag Line)”

“All the people I meet find it easy to relax when they count to 10, which means when you get to five you’re already half way relaxed, aren’t you?”

“no-one can go into trance without listening to my voice, so don’t listen to my voice, then you will be able to think about what it is I’m not saying to you, won’t you?”

Formula Two

  • People Can + Double Bind + Mind Read

“People can easily relax (people can), it just depends if you want to relax now, or if you want to relax in a few minutes (double bind) and I know you want to learn to relax more (mind read)then you are right now”

“People can feel confident in all types of situations, you can feel a little confident or you can feel highly confident, I know you have felt confidence before, haven’t you?”

“People can be generous, if you were a generous person you might donate some money today or set up a direct debit, which would you prefer? Because I know you like to feel good about helping people in need”

Formula Three

  • You May Not Know + Comparative Deletion + Ambiguity

“You may not know how to fall into a trance quickly (You May Not Know), all I know is that you will relax more easily (Comparative Deletion) because your unconscious (ambiguity you’re unconscious) now, can let you just relax”

“You may not know what that feeling is, you just know it feels better, and as I speak you as a change person the feeling grows stronger”

“You may not know what confidence feels like, and you have felt more confident, because if you said yes –to –day (yesterday) I will feel more confident, then you just will, wont you?”
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